Two Russian friends are living the American dream of owning their own business.

Two Russian friends are living the American dream of owning their own business.

Lev Shafer and Vitali Solokha opened Quick Sell LLP, an eBay business, about two months ago at 1615 W. Fifth Ave.

Quick Sell markets and sells items clients bring in on the eBay Internet auction site.

"A customer brings an item in to us and we do the best research we can about the item and determine its true value," Shafer said. "We market the item in order to get the highest sale price possible. We look for the best way to promote the product."

People often underestimate the value of items they own, he said.

"For example, we've identified antique items the customer didn't know were so valuable," Shafer said. "People often don't realize what they might have in their attic or basement."

Shafer, 25, moved with his family from Siberia to Upper Arlington when he was a sophomore in high school.

"We basically moved for a change in atmosphere and to find more opportunity," he said. "It was hard at first for me. I knew some English, but language was still a big barrier that ultimately I was able to overcome."

After graduating from Upper Arlington High School, Shafer earned a degree in business administration from Franklin University. He is working toward earning an MBA.

Solokha, 32, is a native of Belarus. His family moved to Columbus about a dozen years ago. For the past eight years he has owned a successful flooring business.

"I had done some buying and selling on eBay when I was in college," Shafer said. "I had some success with it."

Shafer and Solokha began talking about opening an eBay business about a year ago.

"I've always wanted to own my own business," Shafer said. "This seemed like a good idea. I think that everybody has something they want to get rid of, especially with the extra income it can bring."

More and more people may be interested in selling items with the worsening economy, Shafer said.

Owning a business like Quick Sell is fun, "because you never know what someone is going to bring in," he said. "It can be anything from an antique to a rare book, a collectible item or sports memorabilia.

"It can be really interesting to research an item as you start to find out more information," Shafer said.

One customer brought in a vintage 1864 Civil War sword, he said.

"We knew it was valuable, but we couldn't put a value on it," Shafer said.

During his research, he said, he learned a great deal about the types of swords used in the Civil War. The sword turned out to be a type used by cavalry officers.

Shafer said he and Solokha wanted to find a location for their store in the Tri-Village area.

"We thought with all of the older homes in this area there would probably be a lot of interesting stuff people might want to sell," he said.

Customers are invited to phone Quick Sell or simply bring their items to the store, Shafer said.

Quick Sell is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The phone number is 486-7355 (SELL).